Wondering what to put in the kids’ Christmas stocking this year? Well the National Literacy Trust is encouraging everyone to buy a diary or a journal as a gift. They believe writing a journal is a great way for children to explore language, express themselves and build emotional resilience.
With daily writing, children can practise their handwriting outside of school. And according to one report, schoolchildren who kept a journal were nearly twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age as those who didn’t.
The beauty of a diary is that kids can write about whatever they like. It might be what they’ve done that day, how they’re feeling or their hopes and fears. This, say the NLT, gives children the chance to build emotional resilience because writing things down lets them process their thoughts and express their feelings.
Writing thoughts down is pretty handy for adults too. I have a personal notebook that I write in every evening. It’s somewhere for me to unload or reflect on what I’m immensely grateful for.
" Diary writing is a brilliant idea for children, because it helps them organise their thoughts and express themselves. "
Sue Townsend, author of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
When it comes to your kids, they may need a bit of encouraging – otherwise it might feel like another task they have to do rather than something they can enjoy. A handy tip is to read your children a book where the main character writes a journal – like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Younger kids could be encouraged to start by using pictures instead of words, or writing with colourful pens and pencils.
Of course a diary is personal so it’s always handy to have a secret place to keep it away from prying eyes. I love the idea of a child scribbling away in their diary then hiding it behind their favourite things on their Bunk Bed Buddy . It's safe in their own little territory – and it’s close at hand whenever they want to write in it.
And who knows – one day that diary might become a best-selling book!